The winding road stretched along the snow-dusted fields, passing forests and rare sad villages. During his short life, Timofey traveled it up and down, studied every crack on the asphalt. The heavy truck rolled along a familiar path, and every kilometer traveled confidently led to his home.
The man’s heart was heavy, and he did not feel the joy of returning home. Timofey understood that he was going to have a difficult conversation with his wife. However, he wasn’t going to step back.
– Where are we? – my partner Nikolai looked out of the sleeping bag, yawning.
– Go to sleep. There are still a hundred and fifty kilometers left. When we get there, I’ll wake you up,” Timofey replied to his friend, who, with a satisfied look, dived back onto the couch.
The monotonous road brought not only a dream, but also dear memories of the past. Even as a child, Timokha decided that he would be a chauffeur. I managed to get a driver’s license before the army draft and even rolled the steering wheel on an old gas for six months.
In the army, drivers were in the price and he was immediately entrusted with a military Ural. He drove him all the way to the demob, and after the service he got a job as a long-distance truck driver at the city carpool.
The dashing years were approaching – the nineties. There was constant danger on the roads. Several times Timofey had to fight with tough “brothers”. The last showdown ended for him with the loss of cargo and a hospital bed. It’s a good thing he stayed alive. I stayed in the hospital under ivs and went on the road again. Pride and stubbornness in his character did not allow him to retreat and quit his favorite occupation.
The carpool has also undergone transformational changes. The signboard of the state enterprise was changed to a joint-stock company. The private shop survived four directors – owners of the enterprise until 2000. The management changed, the company went through bankruptcy and only a few of the huge team remained at their previous jobs. Timofey Petrovich, as he was already called, turned out to be one of the most persistent.
The last owner turned out to be a diligent owner. With him, new machinery and equipment were purchased, repair hangars were updated and the administrative building was given a presentable appearance. The team was replenished with young specialists who mastered new professions, and managers began to lead the team of drivers.
A new generation has grown up with the skills to work in the field of market economy, the policy of which was increasingly discussed by men on a smoke break, using obscene words.
In fairness, it should be noted that in recent years, truckers have had a sin to complain about life. Of course, traveling away from home, but a permanent job and decent earnings.
On the family front, Timofey was also doing well. Twenty-one years ago he married a business girl. He didn’t feel any particular passion for her, he just chose the most worthy of the applicants. I was looking for a simpleton, without any special claims, to keep the house and faithfully wait for my spouse from long trips.
Antonina justified his hopes. Quiet, modest and the house is clean and tidy. She loved her husband and gave no reason to doubt her loyalty. They said about them: “A great couple, they live soul to soul.”
Yes, there was only one trouble in their family. At first, the wife could not get pregnant for two years after the wedding. When she finally got pregnant, the young people were over the moon with happiness. But it wasn’t meant to be. Tonya lost her baby on a long term. The fetus froze in the seventh month.
Grieved greatly. In the city hospital, doctors comforted: young, God willing, also a daughter and a son. But the years went by, and the forecasts never came true. After ten years of going to the doctors, the couple agreed to IVF. The procedure seems to have been successful, but a month later it was again a bitter disappointment. After all that Antonina experienced, she did not want to repeat IVF. There was too much hope and a very bitter ending.
Timofey has grown tired of looking at her suffering over the years. “Let’s take the boy from the orphanage,” he suggested. Antonina didn’t even want to listen. She turned out flatly.
The years went on as usual. We lived amicably, and there was complete well-being in the house. He only saw a poorly hidden sadness in his wife’s eyes. How they wanted the house to be filled with ringing children’s voices!
They tried not to touch on the sore topic. Gradually, their relationship became estranged, and they began to look more like friendship. We communicated warmly and with respect, but without much spark.
Still, Timothy wanted an heir to a painful gnashing in his teeth. He goes on another flight and dreams how nice it would be if snub-nosed babies were snoring in the next room of the house. He would go fishing with his son, and his daughter would be an assistant to her mother. A separate topic is to put a boy behind the wheel of a car and teach driving skills from childhood. Oh, dreams!
He gave himself completely to work, and he wanted to work even more for a full family – to try for his own children. Purchases in the form of a new TV or new furniture no longer brought joy as before.
His trucker friends saw him looking at young women with strollers and seemed to be jokingly advising:
– Yes, get yourself another family on the side! A lot of people do that. There is no way without an heir.
Timofey waved it off, he didn’t want this dirt. Many of the colleagues had a second and even a third family – and nothing, they coped. Wives and mistresses managed to carry a penny and spoiled the children.
There was no condemnation of such actions in his soul. But he didn’t want to. How can I look into my wife’s eyes afterwards?
But, as they say: “People only assume, and God alone decides.” So it happened to him. He was sent on a business trip three years ago.
The flight was planned for a long time – to the farthest point of the northern region. Then his partner was Dimka, who had already transported goods to this area more than once.
The road turned out to be unsuccessful, as if a black cat ran in front of the car. It was not only the hands that were black from the breakdowns that fell one after another. And this is after a thorough inspection before the trip!
Then, what the hell, the track began to be covered with snow. And this is at the end of October! Plus, the wind was so strong that it literally blew off the road.
– Oh-ho-ho, – Timofey sighed long, – bad luck, so bad luck. I thought we’d get away quickly, but it looks like we won’t get through soon.
Timofey confidently turned the steering wheel and already dreamed of a warm overnight stay. He didn’t like hotels very much, but it was still better than on the road under a snowfall.
Finally, fate had mercy, and they soon rolled up to their destination. They quickly dropped the load and put the truck for repair. It was getting dark and I was hungry. The “brakes” with a partner were registered at lunch.
– And I have a surprise for you, – Dima winked slyly. We’re not going to the hotel today! I have one address here! The woman is fine, lonely and will gladly accept lonely handsome men for the night.
Timofey shrugged his shoulders.
– I don’t care. Just to have a hot meal and fall on the bed. Repairs are due tomorrow, we need more.
An old acquaintance turned out to be a rather pleasant brown-eyed woman of about forty. She lived in an old but well-maintained house on the outskirts. She raised three sons herself: the youngest was only 4 years old, the middle one was eight, and the older boy was already finishing 7th grade. As Dimka said in secret, everything is from different men, as it would be more decent to say – extramarital. Married, Natasha, as the hostess was called, has never been.
“She loves visiting guests,” Dmitry whispered to me while the hostess was setting the table.- A little wayward, but kind and in bed what you need. You won’t regret it!
Natasha, passing by, accidentally bumped Timofey’s shoulder for a moment. From her smile and the open neckline in a housecoat, the man’s breath was taken away. It’s been a long time since this happened to him.
“She likes you, she’ll agree to have fun,” his partner whispered in his ear. Go to the active action, I recommend.
Natasha put plates of thick steaming soup on the table. A simple table was supplemented with stewed potatoes and lightly salted cucumbers. We didn’t plan to go on the road tomorrow, so we rolled a couple of glasses of homemade vodka.
Timofey relaxed and felt more confident. That’s just confused by Natasha’s frank views, which became more and more frank after each glass she drank.
“Go to bed,” Timofey admonished himself.
Irritated and at the same time attracted the availability of a woman, but he was not ready, not ready.
The man was not used to such one-time relationships, and the boys kept looking into the kitchen, looking at tipsy guests.
Timofey muttered about being terribly tired and went to the children’s bedroom for the night, laying a quilted jacket on the couch. The young woman shrugged her shoulders in disappointment and directed all her charm at the guest who remained at the table.
In the morning Timofey woke up in a great mood. Everyone was still asleep. He quickly washed his face and went out on the porch of the house. During the night, there was so much snow that only a handle could be seen from the well in the yard. We’ll have to work! He found a shovel in a dilapidated shed and began to shovel the night snowdrifts.
An hour later, the whole yard was cleaned. Mountains of snow grew on the sides, covering bushes and small trees of the same age to the top.
Flushed, he returned to the house and met Natalia’s eldest son in the kitchen.
– Vovka, the boy stretched out his hand to Timofey. – I’m cooking breakfast, will you?
The guest waved his head in the affirmative.
Vovka skillfully broke a couple of eggs into a sizzling frying pan, sliced bread and took butter from the refrigerator.
– Are you staying with us for a long time, or what? – the boy asked, eating scrambled eggs.
– I think for three days until the roads are cleared. Are we interrupting?
– No, you’re good. Don’t make a row with your mom and don’t sing drunk songs,” the boy replied with childlike spontaneity.
– Well, bon appetit, and I still have to wake up Vanka and Kolka and go to kindergarten and school to collect.
Timofey washed the dishes after himself, fried more eggs and looked into the children’s room where the boys were dressing.
– Breakfast is ready, come on, have a snack.
It didn’t take long to persuade the guys. We ate scrambled eggs with pleasure, washed down with sweet tea.
During the meal, the children started talking. They told me their names, that one of them goes to the second grade, and the smaller one goes to kindergarten. They mentioned that all the care for them falls on Vovka, and the mother is busy all the time – she works at the post office. Imbued with confidence in an unfamiliar uncle, they also told about their innermost dreams. The older Vanya dreams of a phone, and the smaller one dreams of a birthday present – a big toy fire truck.
– To be bright red, with a long ladder and a loud signal.
The kids ran away, slamming the door loudly, and Timofey was still sitting at the table, thinking about his own. Somehow he felt good from communicating with the boys and at the same time it was heavy on his heart.
The door creaked. Natalia appeared from another bedroom in a short robe thrown over her naked body. Stretching sweetly, she asked: “Why did my gang run away? No matter how much I ask you not to make noise, they will wake you up anyway.” A sleepy Nikolai followed her out. It was evident from both that the night had passed quite stormily.
– Did they wake you up?
– No, I haven’t been sleeping for a long time. I’m used to getting up early and I’ve already managed to manage in the yard. Won’t you be angry, mistress?
– Thanks for the help, but you didn’t want my gratitude. Are you disdainful or are you faithful to your wife? Natalia grinned. – It’s your business, but it’s still a shame.
– I don’t like these conversations, – Timofey was embarrassed and tried to turn the conversation to another topic…
Truckers stayed away for seven whole days. It just happened. Timofey during these days not only made friends with the boys, but also began to feel a strange affection for them. The youngest repaired an old sled and even went a couple of times with him on the slide to ride. The average made fasteners to wooden skis. And with the elder Volodka, he chopped firewood every evening and spent time in interesting conversations.
That evening they were returning home with little Kolya, having had enough of rolling down a big snow slide. Suddenly the boy looked into his eyes and asked:
– And now you’re going to be our daddy and marry your mom? Stay with us forever!
The man was taken aback. What could he say to him? Of course, only the truth.
– I can’t stay, but I will try to visit you if there is a road to these parts…
Timofey kept his word.
A month passed and he himself began to ask to be sent to a familiar Siberian city. The men winked and joked kindly:
– Is the young sweetheart tea wound up? How are you coping?
And he couldn’t even explain to himself why he was so attracted to other guys. My soul is attached to them, and that’s it.
I didn’t say anything to my wife, and she limited herself only to the questions on duty: “How did you go? Are you all right?”
So I went to two families twice a year for three years. The boys were always happy about his arrival, shared the latest news. Timofey saw how they grow up and are drawn to him as to a native person. He always brought gifts: mobile phones, toys, and necessary clothes.
Every time I noticed how Natalia looks at him with sadness and how she has aged lately.
And two months ago Vovka called him:
– Uncle Timofey, the mother is no more. She died in the hospital yesterday… Cancer… We are taken to a shelter, and then to an orphanage. We are afraid and don’t want to go there. Don’t leave us, please!..
Everything turned upside down in my soul. I asked the management for an urgent business trip and went on a flight along a familiar road. He visited and calmed the boys, promised the director of the shelter that he would take the children and urgently issue all the necessary documents.
And today he has to talk to his wife and tell her the whole truth. He believed, hoped that he would understand and they would live together as a big family.
To listen, she listened. After the conversation, she fell silent for a long time, and then burst into tears.
– I’m sorry, my love. I can’t love them. Other people’s children, and the eldest is almost an adult. Refuse, I can’t,” Antonina sobbed.
The man drew her to him, and as if for the first time in his life he felt a great love for this woman.
– We can do everything because we are together. I will always be with you. If you need to learn another profession, I’m ready. Just to be at home next to you. We’ll grow it together. And I have a loving heart— enough for my sons and for you. I’m a man!
And the woman smiled, wiped her tears and thought that she had dreamed of a full-fledged family all these years. Now her dream has come true and she is not afraid of anything – there will be four real men next to her…